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View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2021-02-26 10:03 [p.4591]
moved that Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
He said: Madam Speaker, I am very honoured today to have the opportunity and privilege to take part in this debate and introduce to the House Bill C-21 at second reading. Bill C-21, an act to amend certain acts and to make certain consequential amendments, is a historic and important step forward for Canada in creating a safer country. This legislation proposes to introduce some of the strongest gun control measures in our country's history.
It represents the culmination of many years of work and strong advocacy from the victims of gun crimes in this country. We have listened to those victims. We have listened to police chiefs across the country, who have urged successive governments to bring in stronger measures, recognizing that gun control is a factor of community safety and a necessary legislative requirement for keeping our communities safe. As Dr. Najma Ahmed, co-chair of Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns, has said about the bill, “This is a comprehensive bill that, if enacted, will save lives”.
Canada is generally a very safe country and Canadians take great pride in that, but they are legitimately concerned about the threats posed by firearm-related crime in their communities. It is therefore important to begin with the recognition and acknowledgement that gun ownership in Canada is not a right; it is a privilege. It is a privilege earned by gun owners who obey our laws and who purchase their guns legally, use them responsibly and store them securely. It is through the strict adherence to our laws, regulations and restrictions that Canadians earn the privilege of firearm ownership. I want to acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of those firearm owners are, in fact, responsible and abide by our laws. However, we also know that far too often, firearms can fall into the wrong hands or be present in dangerous circumstances.
As a former police officer and police chief, I have far too many times been required to go to the scene of firearm tragedies where young people and innocent citizens have been gunned down in the streets, and where firearm violence impacts not only the victims, but their families and their communities. Last summer, I went to a community in Toronto that had already experienced 22 violent gun incidents just in the month of July. What that meant in the community is that every child knew someone who had been the victim of a gun crime. That generational trauma demands an appropriate response from all Canadians. I have also had the unfortunate duty to attend funerals for police officers and for citizens who had been killed with these guns. Those are the things that should deepen all of our resolve to take action.
We have listened to the strong advocacy of the victims from École Polytechnique, from Nova Scotia, at the mosque in Quebec and at tragedies throughout the country. We have also witnessed with horror the use of some of these weapons in mass shootings around the world, and we have taken action.
As members will recall, last May 1, our government, by order in council, prohibited over 1,500 weapons. With Bill C-21 introduced today, we are taking actions to complete that prohibition. We have, through the legislation, established the conditions necessary to secure and set controls for the newly prohibited firearms.
Under this legislation, all of those in possession of such newly prohibited firearms will be required to acquire a licence to possess the weapon. The firearm will have to be registered as a prohibited weapon. There will be no grandfathering, as previously done. Rather, we are imposing through this legislation strict prohibitions on the sale, transfer and transport of these weapons, and we are imposing complete prohibitions on their use. The use of these newly prohibited weapons will be a criminal offence. We are also imposing strict conditions on the storage of these weapons, rendering these newly prohibited firearms legally unusable as a firearm.
We have relied on the advice of law enforcement and our various officials across the country to determine the best way to safely manage these weapons, which are prevalent in our society. However, I want to be clear: There is nothing in this legislation that speaks of a buy-back program. We believe that Canadians who legally purchased the guns we want to prohibit need to be treated fairly, and we are imposing appropriate and necessarily prohibitions on their sale and use, and restrictions on their storage. We also intend to offer the people who purchased these guns legally an opportunity to surrender them and be fairly compensated for them.
The bill does much more than just complete the prohibition. We have also looked very carefully in this legislation at all of the ways that criminals gain access to guns. We have seen a very concerning increase in gun violence in cities and communities right across this country. This manifests itself in different ways, but we know that in almost every circumstance criminals get their guns one of three ways: They are smuggled across our borders from the United States, stolen from lawful gun owners or retailers, or criminally diverted from those who purchase them legally and then sell them illegally.
In consultation with law enforcement, we have looked at all of the ways that criminals gain access to guns, and we have taken strong action in Bill C-21 to close off that supply. For example, with respect to concerns over guns coming in from across the border, we have heard many concerns from not only law enforcement but communities across the country about the proliferation of firearms, particularly handguns, that are smuggled in from the United States.
I recently had a conversation with my counterparts in the United States, and we are committed to establishing a bilateral task force on both sides of our countries for law enforcement to work collaboratively together to help prevent the importation of these firearms. In Bill C-21, we are also taking strong action to increase the penalty for gun smuggling and provide law enforcement and our border service officers with the resources and access to the data they need to be effective in identifying the source of these guns, for cutting off that supply and to deal more effectively to deter, detect and prosecute the individuals and organizations responsible for smuggling these guns into our country.
Let us also be clear that smuggling is not the only way. Quite often, we hear from gun retailers and the gun lobby in this country that we should only look at somebody else's guns, not theirs. Unfortunately, the reality is that in many parts of the country, crime guns are not just smuggled across the border.
I think it is important to listen to some of the police chiefs. For example, the chief in Saskatoon has recently said that crime guns in his community are not being smuggled across the border but are being stolen from legal gun owners. We also heard from the chief in Regina, who very clearly said that the guns in his community are not coming across the border but are legally owned, obtained through theft or straw purchase. The chief in Edmonton also opined that only 5% to 10% of the crime guns in his community, in the city of Edmonton, are actually smuggled across the border and the rest come from legal gun owners through theft and straw purchasing.
It is therefore important that in this legislation we address those sources of supply as well. That is why we are introducing in this legislation strict new restrictions on the storage of handguns in this country. They would require all handgun owners to store their weapons more securely, in a safe or vault that will be prescribed and described in the regulations of this legislation. They would also require gun retailers to store their weapons, when on display and in storage, more securely to prevent their theft.
I will highlight an example. A couple of years ago, two young girls and nine Torontonians were injured in a terrible and tragic gun incident. The firearm in that case was stolen some three months before from a gun shop in Saskatoon. Over three months, it made its way into Toronto and was used in a horrific crime. Therefore, keeping those guns out of our communities is an important element of Bill C-21.
Finally, we also deal with the source of supply through criminal diversion. We have seen a number of examples where individuals have purchased a large number of handguns and made an attempt to disguise their origin by filing off the serial numbers and then selling them for an enormous profit to the criminal market and to the gangs that commit violent acts in our communities. For those crimes to be detected and deterred, we need to ensure that law enforcement has access to the resources and data its members need to properly trace those weapons. That is why in this legislation we have provided law enforcement with that access.
We are also making significant investments. Yesterday, I advised the House that through our investments in British Columbia, for example, we just opened up a brand new forensic firearms laboratory. It will assist law enforcement in determining the origin of these weapons so we can hold individuals who purchase them legally and sell them illegally to account.
We also know that, in addition to guns that get into the hands of criminals, there are circumstances when the presence of a firearm that may have been legally obtained can lead to tragedy in certain potentially dangerous situations. We see it in incidents of domestic violence and intimate partner violence, when a legally acquired firearm may be in a home. When the circumstances in that home change so that it becomes a place of violence and threat and coercion, the presence of a firearm in those circumstances can lead to deadly consequences.
Although the police currently have some limited authority to remove firearms in those circumstances, in many cases of domestic and intimate partner violence the police are not aware of the presence of a firearm, even when the crime is reported to them.
Through this legislation, we are empowering others: empowering victims, those who support them, legal aid clinics and other people in our society to take effective action through what are called extreme risk laws to remove firearms from potentially dangerous situations. Similarly, in situations where an individual may become suicidal or is emotionally disturbed, the presence of a firearm could lead to a deadly outcome.
We are empowering doctors, family members, clergy and elders in communities to take effective action to remove firearms by using the provisions of this legislation to remove firearms from those potentially dangerous and deadly situations.
Finally, this legislation also applies to those who engage in acts of hatred and extremism online. We have seen, in a number of tragic incidents in this country, that individuals have given an indication of their deadly intent online. When that information is available, we are now empowering those who become aware of it to take action, to remove firearms from those deadly situations and help keep people safe.
I want to advise the House that in the United States, 19 states have implemented extreme risk laws, also referred to as red flag laws, in every jurisdiction. In those states, we have seen strong evidence that these measures save lives. That is our intent with this legislation.
This legislation is not intended, in any way, to infringe upon the legitimate use of firearms for hunting or sport shooting purposes. It is, first and foremost, a public safety bill. It aims to keep firearms out of the hands of those who would commit violent crimes with them, and to remove firearms from situations that could become dangerous and be made deadly by the presence of a firearm. That is the intent of this legislation.
We are taking some additional measures within this legislation. For example, we have listened to law enforcement, which for over 30 years has been urging the Government of Canada to take action to prohibit what are often referred to as replica firearms. These devices appear absolutely indistinguishable from dangerous firearms. The police have urged governments to take action because these devices are often used in crime. They have been used to hurt people. They present an overwhelming, impossible challenge for law enforcement officers when they are confronted by individuals using these devices. This has, in many circumstances, led to tragic consequences.
After listening to law enforcement, this legislation includes prohibiting those devices. If I may be clear, these are not BB guns, paint guns or pellet guns that people use recreationally. These are devices designed as exact replicas of dangerous firearms. That exact appearance really creates the danger around these devices, so we are taking action.
We are also taking action to strengthen our provisions with respect to large-capacity magazines. I have been to far too many shootings in my city of Toronto. Years ago, when someone discharged a revolver, there would be two or three shots fired. Now, dangerous semi-automatic handguns and large-capacity magazines can lead to literally dozens and dozens of rounds being discharged, putting far more innocent people at risk.
We have seen that those devices are often modified to allow for the higher capacity, and we are taking action to prevent that. We are closing a loophole with respect to the importation of information, and we are making other consequential amendments to this legislation, all intended to keep communities safe.
As a companion to this important legislation, we have also made significant investments, first of all, in law enforcement. Several years ago a previous government cut enormous amounts of funding from the police, eliminating RCMP officers and border services officers, weakening our controls at the border and compromising our ability to deal effectively with organized crime. We have been reinvesting in policing and border services to restore Canada's capacity to secure our borders and keep our communities safe.
For example, we have made over $214 million available to municipal and indigenous police services because we know that they do important work in dealing with guns and gangs in their communities and reducing gun violence. Those investments in policing are important; however, they are not the only investments necessary to keep our communities safe. That is why we are also investing in communities. Through our fall economic statement, over the next five years we are making $250 million available to community organizations that do extraordinary work with young people and help to change the social conditions that give rise to crime and violence.
This is a comprehensive approach to gun safety in this country. It is always extraordinary to me that some people are afraid to talk about guns when we are talking about gun violence, but in my experience, countries with strong and appropriate gun control are safer countries. We have also seen that those countries with weak gun laws, as have been opposed by some in the House, experience the tragedy of gun violence far too often.
If I may repeat, in this country firearm ownership is a privilege, not a right. That makes us fundamentally different from countries like the United States, where the right to bear arms is protected constitutionally. It is not in Canada. Canada, like many other very sensible countries, has taken the appropriate step of banning firearms that have no place in our society. They are not designed for hunting and they are not designed for sport: they are designed for soldiers to hunt other soldiers and kill people, and tragically that is what they have been used for. That is why we have prohibited them and through the actions of this bill, we are taking strong measures to ensure that these firearms cannot ever be legally used in this country.
We believe that these provisions are appropriate, they are necessary, they are effective and they are fair, because we acknowledge as well that those who purchased the now-prohibited firearms did so legally. Now that we have prohibited them, we want to ensure that they can never be used to commit a violent crime at any time in this country.
We have drawn a bright line in this legislation. We are not a country where people arm themselves to defend themselves against each other. We do not carry guns in this country for self-protection. We rely on the rule of law. Peace, order and good government are strongly held Canadian values, and we do not arm our citizens as they do in some other countries for self-defence.
Firearms in this country are only appropriate for hunting and sport shooting purposes, and there is nothing in this legislation that in any way infringes upon those activities. Some will try to make the case notwithstanding, but frankly it is a false case based on the false assumption that all firearms in this country represent a danger. They are offensive weapons by their very definition; therefore, we regulate them very strictly in Canada. Some of those firearms, such as handguns, are very dangerous, so we have appropriately added restrictions on them.
Finally, some weapons frankly have no place in a society for which firearms can only be used for hunting and sport purposes, These are firearms that were designed for combat: tactical weapons, which used to be marketed as assault weapons before those weapons began to be prohibited by countries like New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. These weapons were even prohibited in the United States for a decade.
We are doing the right thing and taking the appropriate action to keep Canadians safe. This bill builds upon the effective measures that we brought forward in Bill C-71, which we are in the process of fully implementing over the next few months. We believe that, coupled with our investments, both pieces of legislation will help fulfill our promise to Canadians to do everything necessary to strengthen gun control in this country and keep Canadians safe.
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
View Alex Ruff Profile
2021-02-26 10:23 [p.4594]
Madam Speaker, I have a very simple question for the minister. It is the same question I have been asking the minister for almost a year now, here in the House and in written questions. It is about data and substantiation of how the prohibition of any of these firearms, or the measures taken through Bill C-21, would reduce gun violence in this country. It is a simple question about the data: Where is the evidence?
The minister mentioned he saw 22 tragic gun violence crimes in the Toronto area last year alone. I would like him to provide the statistics. Out of those 22 gun crimes, how many were done with legal firearms?
As well, I would like the minister to clarify and confirm that he just acknowledged he is bringing back a long gun registry for those firearms that the Liberals have now prohibited. He mentioned the Airsoft and replica firearms that he would now prohibit as well. Would he acknowledge that replica firearms have been prohibited in this country for a number of years now?
Finally, the minister again mentioned that the 1,500-plus firearms that were prohibited last year were designed by the military or for military use. I asked him last year to name just one of them that had been prohibited that had ever been, or is still, in use by the Canadian Armed Forces.
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2021-02-26 10:25 [p.4594]
Madam Speaker, it is always a bit of a mystery to me that, in a party that eliminated a registry and the collection of data that pertain to firearms, and did everything it could to undermine even Statistics Canada's efforts to collect data on this issue, members now complain that there is no data. One of the reasons there is insufficient data is because of the actions of the previous government.
Let me be very clear on something. We are not introducing a new registry. That is another gun lobby talking point. In Canadian law, and during the entire period of the Conservative government, prohibited weapons in this country must be both licensed and registered. We are just following the law as it is exists. There is no new registry here, but these newly prohibited weapons are now, in law, prohibited weapons; therefore, everyone in possession of them will have to have a licence in order to possess that prohibited weapon and, because they are now prohibited weapons, they will also have to be registered, as all prohibited weapons always had to be.
Let me talk a bit about the use of guns. I cited a couple of examples, and I do not disagree with the member that a lot of the guns that are used, for example, in gun crime in Toronto are smuggled guns. Over 10 years, I traced the origin of every crime gun in Canada, so I have really good data on that. In my experience, about 70% were smuggled across the border and about 30% were either legally owned or were stolen or criminally diverted. We have good data in that city, but it is not consistently collected across the country. We are changing that by investing in appropriate data collection around this issue.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2021-02-26 10:26 [p.4594]
Madam Speaker, New Democrats have long been in support of banning assault rifles, making our cities safer, opposing smuggling and getting the government to actually do something about it.
However, we have a problem with the minister when he says that recreational use of firearms is okay. Whereas handguns are treated one way under this legislation, in allowing their use to continue except where restricted by municipalities, Airsoft rifles, which are used recreationally across the country by many organizations and groups and which cause no harm, are being treated the same as assault weapons.
Will the minister recognize that this is a totally different category, and try to find some way of allowing this to continue in recreational use? The banning of Airsoft rifles is putting them in the same category as prohibited weapons, and that is wrong.
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2021-02-26 10:27 [p.4594]
Madam Speaker, that is a very important question.
First of all, handguns represent a very significant danger. It is why we restrict them. Just to be very clear, in this legislation we are imposing very strict national restrictions on handguns: on their storage, sale and use. Those restrictions would apply in every place. We have also listened to municipalities where people have said that they would like to do more. We are prepared to work with communities that want to do more to keep their citizens safe. It is a responsibility we all have.
With respect to the Airsoft rifles that the member references, there is no problem with those devices, except when they are designed to exactly replicate dangerous firearms so that they are indistinguishable from those firearms. We have listened to the law enforcement community, which has passed a number of resolutions. By the way, I consulted with the law enforcement community about why it wanted this done, and the representatives said that these devices have been used in crime.
In Winnipeg, for example, Chief Danny Smyth identified that 215 replica firearms were used to commit crimes in his city just last year. In his response to Bill C-21 he said, “We think you're on to something”.
I also spoke to the president of the CACP, who strongly supported it and expressed appreciation that the government finally listened to law enforcement to take effective action to remove devices that exactly replicate dangerous firearms. There really is no place for them in our society. They represent an unacceptable risk.
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2021-02-26 10:29 [p.4595]
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. minister for his explanation about his Bill C-21. I would like to ask him a question.
I had a chance to meet with members of a group called PolySeSouvient, who told me that they felt the bill was flawed. Lots of people are not happy about this.
My colleague said that some cities are prepared to deal with handguns. Other municipalities, however, do not want them at all.
A resolution was tabled in the National Assembly, and Quebec is ready to take charge of this issue. On the other hand, we are concerned about the whole firearms issue.
Given how dissatisfied people are with this bill, is the minister ready to go back to the drawing board and collaborate in committee with opposition parties to redraft this bill and see how it can be improved?
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2021-02-26 10:30 [p.4595]
Madam Speaker, I will be very clear. A substantial amount in the bill deals with handguns. As I said it, it would impose additional restrictions and would give access to law enforcement to do a better job of keeping guns, which are being smuggled across the border, out of our country, to prevent their theft through stronger storage requirements and to assist law enforcement to detect and therefore deter and prosecute those who, through straw purchase, have purchased them legally and sell them illegally.
There are very strong measures in the bill that deal with handguns.
This government listened to the strong advocacy. It was deeply motivated by the tragedy of the École Polytechnique, when 14 women were gunned down because they were women. In that terrible crime, the killer used a Ruger Mini-14. In May, we prohibited that weapon. PolySeSouvient advocated for over nearly 30 years to have that weapon prohibited. We listened and we took action on that. We are now completing that prohibition to ensure those weapons can never be legally used in Canada again.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2021-02-26 10:31 [p.4595]
Madam Speaker, I appreciate the hon. minister pointing out that we do not have rights to bear arms in this country. I also note that under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we do not have rights to property at all. Much of the rhetoric I hear against controls on firearms, such as from a group called the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights, shows that its does not understand Canadian law.
However, I did have initially a very strong sense of disappointment that the buyback program was not mandatory. The hon. minister will know that in briefing me and the Green caucus, he and the Minister of Justice said that they decided that the New Zealand mandatory firearm buyback had not worked because it was mandatory.
I have been digging into it since the minister told me that. Everything I can see suggests that there were probably about 170,000 semi-automatic weapons that the New Zealand Prime Minister wanted removed after the Christchurch massacre. Of the 170,000, only 56,000 were brought back in the mandatory buyback program.
I wonder if there are any other countries on which we have modelled the current approach, which, as he has said, is not in legislation but is running parallel along with it.
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2021-02-26 10:33 [p.4595]
Madam Speaker, we have had discussions on this. I want to be really clear on a buyback of these weapons.
First, Canadians who bought these weapons did so legally. We have since prohibited them. Therefore, we are taking steps to remove those firearms, but it is not intended as a confiscation program. That would be a very challenging thing to do. We did look very carefully at buyback programs that had been initiated in Australia and the United Kingdom. They were a little more distant. One of the things we learned from all those circumstances was that governments had to do the important work of getting control of all these firearms first. Bill C-21 would do that. It would enable us to impose—
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
We have to resume debate.
The hon. member for Lakeland.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2021-02-26 10:34 [p.4596]
Madam Speaker, the Conservatives have and will always support common-sense firearms regulations that keep Canadians and communities safe and respect their rights.
In Bill C-21, there are some things that the Conservatives have been calling for and can support. However, many things completely target the wrong people and the wrong groups, if the aim really is to improve and protect public safety. Also, crucial areas of concern are not addressed in the bill at all.
The Conservatives have always urged the Liberals to focus on and to target Canada's legislation and enforcement resources toward the primary source of most gun crime in Canada: illegally-smuggled firearms in the hands of gangs and criminals. That is why we support certain measures, like increasing the penalty for gun smuggling, something the Conservatives have advocated for years; authorizing disclosure to Canadian law enforcement agencies when there are reasonable grounds to suspect a firearms licence is used for straw purchasing; improving the ability of the CBSA to manage inadmissibility to Canada when foreign nationals commit offences upon entry into Canada, including firearms-related offences; and transferring the responsibility for transborder criminality from the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
The Conservatives are committed to actually strengthening and securing public safety through real action to tackle gun crime head-on. The Conservatives have always said that we would increase funding and coordination for border security to clamp down on illegal firearms smuggling, restore mandatory minimum sentences to keep violent gang members off the street and focus on gangs and criminals instead of making life more difficult for law-abiding firearms owners and retailers by ending automatic bail, revoking parole for gang members and new and tougher sentences for ordering or involvement in violent gang crime.
The Liberals do the opposite. They are big on rhetoric but short on real action. In fact, the day after the Liberals announced Bill C-21, they announced Bill C-22, which, incredibly, would eliminate mandatory minimums for unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of a weapon obtained by crime, weapons trafficking, reckless discharge of a firearm, discharge of a firearm with intent to wound or endanger a person and robbery with a firearm; so reductions for all of those sentences. Bill C-22 would reduce sentences for a number of other horrible offences, including sexual assault, kidnapping, human trafficking, abduction of people under 14, motor vehicle theft and arson.
The Conservatives focus on outcomes and whether laws will achieve objectives. What Bill C-21 proves is that the Liberals, as always, are more concerned with appearances. They play fast and loose with the facts, make up words to scare and ignore the actual problem. With Bill C-21, they would effectively trade on Canadians' fear and safety for short-term political gain. The reality is that taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals and gangs who obtain their guns illegally and already do not follow laws, do not get licences and do not care about firearms classifications. This just continues the Liberal government's ongoing preoccupation with taking firearms off of regulated ranges, while leaving illegal guns on the streets in the hands of those gangs and criminals who will never comply.
In June 2019, the former Toronto police chief was asked about banning handguns in Canada. He said:
I believe that would be potentially a very expensive proposition but just as importantly, it would not in my opinion be perhaps the most effective measure in restricting the access that criminals would have to such weapons, because we’d still have a problem with them being smuggled across the border
Of course, the former Toronto police chief to whom I am referring is the current Minister of Public Safety.
Bill C-21 would create conditions on federal firearms licences to restrict handgun storage or transport within municipalities that have passed such bylaws. Again, the bylaws would be conditions on licences. Therefore, this proposed measure literally, specifically and only targets lawful Canadians who already have the paperwork and comply with the rules. This section would lead to yet another layer of confusing, overlapping regulations and a patchwork of rules for already law-abiding Canadians within and between communities, while violations could result in two years imprisonment or permanent licence revocations and would do nothing to crack down on illegal gun smuggling, trading and gang crimes with guns.
Many law enforcement officials have already said that this measure would not be effective, including the current RCMP commissioner, the former OPP commissioner, the police chief of Vancouver, the former president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, representatives of the Winnipeg and Halifax police services and police chiefs of Regina and Saskatoon. Provinces are already speaking out against Bill C-21: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, whose premier said, “It's just not going to work.”
In 2019, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police did not support calls for a ban on handguns and the former president, Vancouver police chief, Adam Palmer said:
In every single case there are already offences for that. They’re already breaking the law and the criminal law in Canada addresses all of those circumstances...The firearms laws in Canada are actually very good right now. They’re very strict.
Former OPP commissioner Chris Lewis says:
This municipal handgun ban is ridiculous...It would only impact legal owners. The gangbangers are already possessing/carrying them in defiance of the Criminal Code and don’t fear police whose hands are tied and weak judicial systems.
Toronto Police Services president Mike McCormack says:
There's no way in my world or any world I know that this would have an impact on somebody who's going to go out and buy an illegal gun and use it to kill another person or shoot another person...
This is a classic Liberal smokescreen. There is absolutely no impact on the illicit use of illegal firearms in crime. Of course criminals and gangs do not carry licences or register their illegally obtained firearms and will not be deterred by municipal bylaws. They do not even care about the Criminal Code.
The fact that at least 80% of guns used in Canadian gun crimes are illegally smuggled in from the states shows that enabling towns and cities to demand handguns from licenced owners will have little to no impact on actual public safety.
In 2016, a father of four for two years, whose children were only six and five along with one-year-old twins, was enjoying a night out with friends in Toronto when he was shot and killed by a stray bullet. Now a mother of three, carrying the lifetime grief from the loss of her child, his mum, Evelyn Fox, advocates to support at-risk youth and prevent youth involvement in gang activity. She believes that banning handguns in Canada is “nonsense” because “street level wise, they'll get access to the handguns anyways.”. She says, “I also would like to know how it is that penalizing law-abiding gun owners with a gun ban is going to deter gun violence on our streets when 80%, if not more, is coming across the border?” She is right.
In Toronto, despite the new Liberal order in council prohibition of thousands of firearms, there were 462 shootings in 2020, an increase over 2018 when there was no prohibition order. The year 2019 was a record year.
Since 2014, shootings in Toronto have increased 161%. Obviously residents and family are worried about this reality, causing sleepless nights, untold heartbreak and anxiety about security, and whether kids can grow up carefree in peaceful neighbourhoods. How galling that Bill C-21 would do nothing to make it more safe, while the Liberals claim otherwise.
In 2019, Toronto's police chief, Mark Saunders, reported that most guns using crime were illegally smuggled in. He said, “When it comes to the handguns, I believe, 82 per cent...of the ‘crime guns’ in the city are coming from the United States.”
Peel Police Association President Adrian Woolley says, “There are a lot of guns out there and they are not legal ones from target shooters but illegal ones smuggled in from the United States.”
For the 2017-18 year, CBSA seized 751 illegal firearms at the U.S.-Canada border, 696 the next year and 753 for the year after that. The CBSA has already seized 166 firearms for the first quarter of this fiscal year. Canada's border agents should be commended for that good work and lawmakers should support their efforts to improve public safety by getting tougher on gun criminals and gun smugglers when they are caught. That is exactly what our Conservative colleague from Markham—Unionville tried to do when he proposed Bill C-238, which would have cracked down on gun smuggling, knowingly possessing illegally smuggled guns by increasing sentences and making it harder for gun runners to get out on bail. However, the Liberals and the NDP voted against that public safety legislation a week before the announcement of Bill C-21.
When asked why the government is not getting tougher on criminals, the Liberal default is to say that they implemented a prohibition on “military-style” assault rifles. First, the term “military-style” assault rifle is of course invented with no legal definition, but it does sound scary. The reality is that fully automatic fire rifles have been prohibited for use outside of the military since the 1970s. The Prime Minister said that he made a law so people could not purchase firearms without purchasing a licence, but that is false.
Along the spirit of making things up, just last Saturday, the member for York South—Weston told a crowd of gun crime victims and families that his Liberal government's gun grab included “AR-135” submachine guns, except they absolutely do not even exist.
Unfortunately, it is easy to see why lawful, well-intentioned urban and rural firearms owners, collectors, hunters, sport shooters, enthusiasts and retailers, people who enjoy this Canadian heritage, are skeptical of the Liberals, to say nothing of the radical shift in Bill C-21. It would create a one-sided guilty-until-proven innocent-ask questions later regime, focused on Canadians who already did a filing and have the licences under Canada's stringent regulations and vigorous vetting processes for prohibition orders and warrantless search and seizures.
That is ripe for abuse and conflicts while bogging down already backlogged courts and law enforcement resources when right now there are multiple overlapping systems to ensure that law enforcement can respond to urgent situations involving threats to personal and public safety, as they must. The new approach actually may even take longer and could easily have unintended consequences and deliver the opposite outcomes. This pattern of saying one thing and doing another, of literally making things up, of not having the evidence to support the legislation to show it will achieve stated outcomes should make every every single Canadian question and challenge the Liberals to prove that their laws will actually make a difference for public safety, and combat gun crimes, too.
That brings me to the framework for the voluntary confiscation program. A 2018 Public Safety Canada paper entitled “Reducing Violent Crime: A Dialogue on Handguns and Assault Weapons” explained why confiscating firearms from lawful licensed owners would be ineffective at reducing gun crime in Canada. The report states:
The vast majority of owners of handguns and of other firearms in Canada lawfully abide by requirements, and most gun crimes are not committed with legally-owned firearms....
In most cases, individuals own handguns either in the context of sport shooting activities or because those handguns form a part of a collection....
Any ban...would primarily affect legal firearms owners,...
The public safety minister recently said that the government does not know how many firearms will fall under the confiscation program, but claims it is in the range of 200,000 and says that at an average price of $1,300 per firearm, it will cost taxpayers in the range of $250 million to $260 million. Of course, experts say that the Liberals are way off and that this confiscation program could cost as much as $5 billion when all is said and done. The fact is that the Liberals do not have any structure in place because no private sector proponents have agreed to run the program after two public requests for bids. It really does say something when highly reputable major firms look at the government's purported analysis and cost assumptions and decide they will not touch it with a 10-foot pole.
The Liberals still have not been clear on how they will address retailers left holding the bag with inventory they cannot sell or return to manufacturers either. Phil Harnois, the owner of P&d Enterprises in Alberta, says that 40% of his annual sales were of firearms that are now banned and that thousands of dollars of inventory became worthless overnight. The president of the National Police Federation, Brian Sauvé, says that “the evidence is that illegal gun trafficking leads to criminals owning guns, which leads to crimes with firearms.... [W]e need to look at the source of the problem.” The vast majority of gun crime committed in Canada is by gangs and criminals using already illegal guns, most often illegally smuggled in. That needs to be reiterated because Bill C-21 clearly misses the mark.
Sylvia Jones, spokesperson for Ontario's solicitor general, agrees. She says that “As law enforcement experts routinely highlight, it has not been demonstrated that banning legal firearms and targeting law-abiding citizens would meaningfully address the problem of gun violence.” The Liberals have shown, of course, though, that they do not really believe that their list of banned firearms in the hands of licensed law-abiding firearms owners are a real threat either. Otherwise, why is there this confusing step of banning them, but allowing Canadians to keep them in their homes so long as the guns are registered with the government? It is very confounding.
However, what is clear is that Bill C-21 finds a way to create a boondoggle that will result in the creation of another long-gun registry because some of the now-prohibited firearms are long guns and it will cost taxpayers billions of dollars while delivering no concrete results to improve the public safety of Canadians suffering at the hands of gangs and criminals carrying out the vast majority of gun violence and crime in Canada.
Another measure that is glaring in its obvious irrelevance to improving public safety in Canada while also imposing major consequences on everyday people is the prohibition of the importation, exportation and sale of all non-regulated air guns that look like modern firearms. Here is the deal. The Liberals are actually imposing a ban on Airsoft and a partial ban on paintball. Any rational, common sense person can see that toy guns are not responsible for the shootings are causing death in Canadian cities. Criminals and gangs with illegal guns are tragically ending the lives of Canadians. This provision in Bill C-21 would end hundreds of livelihoods, legacies and jobs and outlaw an entirely harmless hobby enjoyed by more than 60,000 Canadians.
Airsoft in Canada says the Canadian Airsoft market is worth $100 million and over 260 businesses in Canada are linked to the paintball or Airsoft community. The Quebec Airsoft Federation estimates that the industry brings in over $10 million per year in Quebec alone. Distributors and retailers are uncertain about what to do with the current stock and stock on order because all of it would be rendered worthless immediately, with no option to offset losses because the bill would prohibit sales. It will not only impact businesses that directly sell hobby and competition practice guns, but also the retailers of protective equipment and accessories, as well as the clubs and owners of sports facilities that have focused their businesses largely or solely around these activities.
This whole industry would be devastated. Matt Wasilewicz, who owns Canadian Airsoft Imports, says that the ban “confirms our worst fears”. Frank Chong, who owns Toronto Airsoft, Canada's largest airsoft retailer, says “It looks like it's doomsday for us at this point". Ziming Wan of BlackBlitz Airsoft in Waterloo says that “We're basically all going to have to shut down.... It's the death of the sport, as we know it”. Joe Kimpson of Flag Raiders in Kitchener says “You'll see the demise of airsoft in Canada”.
Seventy-four per cent of these businesses expect to lose over half their revenue because of Bill C-21 and 47% of them expect to be out of business for good. There are approximately 3,000 employees working in those affected businesses. It is unconscionable that half of them would lose their jobs and not a single life be saved for it.
It is hard to see how the Liberals are materially protecting the well-being and safety of Canadians by banning toy guns, shuttering more businesses and killing 1,500 jobs while Canada's unemployment rate is already the highest in the G7.
Mark from Motium Manufacturing in Lakeland says, “I was given no notice, no warning, no consultation. The hard work I've put in for over 8 years has been erased and my customers wrongfully criminalized. Why aren't criminals being as negatively impacted as my small business?”
A petition called “Stop Bill C-21” is circulating in the hobby community and 30,000 Canadians have already signed it. That is because Canadians know what experts have been saying all along, which is also what the Conservatives have been saying. What is missing from these Liberals is any meaningful emphasis or major legal framework targeting the main source of gun crime in Canada.
It is good to see some measures to help the CBSA and a small increase in penalties for gun smuggling, but those aspects of Bill C-21 appear more like a footnote in what seems to be a broader strategy primarily concerned with targeting already law-abiding members of Canadian society. One would read this bill and assume that the main goal is to be a nuisance to the legal firearms community. It is not at all obvious that the aim of Bill C-21 is to improve public safety.
The tragedy is that for all the big words and tough talk from the Liberals, it is the very real victims of growing gun violence and Canadian citizens and their families who are forced to bear the brunt of these failed Liberal policies and experiments. What is worse is that the evidence is available for all of us to see. Experts, law enforcement and policy-makers all agree that concrete strategies and legislation must be directed at criminals and gangs and supports for at-risk youth.
Conservatives will always support a common-sense approach to firearms legislation with concrete outcomes that protect personal and public safety. Bill C-21 does not get to the bottom of addressing the major cause of gun crime in Canada and all MPs really owe it to the victims of violent crime in Canada, past and future, to get serious about gun smuggling, gangs and criminals.
As Evelyn Fox says, “I see the homicides happen and it’s almost like a retrigger for me to think that another mother has to go through this and another mother has to deal with the fact that they aren’t going to see their children again.” Because Bill C-21 will not actually make any difference to that, Conservatives will strongly oppose it, and if it passes, repeal Bill C-21.
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2021-02-26 10:53 [p.4599]
Madam Speaker, I am a little confused by the member's comments because when she was a member of the previous government, she was actually responsible for cutting enormous amounts of funding and staffing from the police and our border service officers, and when our government brought forward measures to refund and restaff those important functions, she voted against them.
I just want to clarify something. We listened very carefully to law enforcement and the victims of gun violence and we are taking strong action in response to their urgent appeals to strengthen gun control in this country. We know that the Conservative leader has promised the gun lobby he will weaken gun control. For example, the gun lobby tells us he promised them that he will make assault rifles legal again, remove restrictions on handguns, eliminate all controls over large capacity magazines, eliminate stronger background checks and allow people to carry concealed weapons. The gun lobby has said very clearly that it has told the Conservative leader what he is to do and he has agreed to do it.
Can the member confirm that it is the intention of the Conservative leader and party to weaken gun controls in the way they have been ordered to do by the gun lobby?
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2021-02-26 10:54 [p.4599]
Madam Speaker, what on earth is this minister talking about? What a deeply concerning and troubling and, frankly, frigging ridiculous response by the one person who has the most power and the most ability to make a real difference—
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
We have a point of order from the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, on a point of order. As you know, and I am sure this member knows, members cannot say indirectly what they cannot say directly. When members use a word like “frigging”, it is pretty clear what they are actually trying to say. I would encourage the Speaker to encourage this member to use proper language and decorum.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2021-02-26 10:55 [p.4600]
Madam Speaker, I will put it this way. What a mind-boggling, irrelevant, political, partisan, ridiculous and superficial approach by the man charged with the chief responsibility to protect the public safety and security of every single Canadian.
What a slap in the face to people in Toronto, to families, to people who live in neighbourhoods and cities right across the country, where criminals and gangs are terrorizing their streets, killing their children and making people wonder if they can sleep peacefully at night, and who are seeing their communities change all around them and want the Canadian government to take action to crack down on the criminals and gangs and the violence that puts them at risk.
How can that possibly be the first question and comment by the Minister of Public Safety in this debate? That, right there, just shows exactly what the problem is.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2021-02-26 10:56 [p.4600]
Madam Speaker, to the comment by the hon. member for Lakeland that protections in Canada would somehow be weakened if we got rid of mandatory minimums, I want to ask the member if she is familiar with the fact that all of the literature around mandatory minimum sentences makes it very clear that they do not reduce crime, but increase the costs of prisons borne by provincial governments and lead to overcrowding.
There is not any evidence that mandatory minimums are anything other than a waste of public funds, and actually endanger Canadians more. Does the member have any literature to the contrary?
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2021-02-26 10:57 [p.4600]
Madam Speaker, actually there have been several recent convictions where mandatory minimum sentences were upheld, and thank goodness they were. They ensured that dangerous criminals, dangerous offenders who had committed violent acts against Canadians, stayed in jail.
I think that every single Canadian would value that measure, when they know that that it is a real action to make sure that we will all be kept safe.
Here again we know what this is all about, namely, ideological objections. What is really behind the discussion and rationale for this is an out of touch attack on law-abiding, lawful, peaceful Canadians while politicians are trying to look like they are doing something about public safety and cracking down on crime.
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
2021-02-26 10:58 [p.4600]
Madam Speaker, there are many social determinants that create the crime that we are seeing in our cities. During this pandemic, of course, things have become extremely exacerbated. Homelessness is on the rise. In my city of London, housing is out of reach. It is not affordable anymore. We are seeing that across the board.
When New Democrats talk about investments in those social programs and trying to provide cost-saving measures with pharmacare, or shifting how we tax the rich and introducing wealth taxes to make those different choices, the Conservative Party, of which the member is part, does not support them.
When we consider the increases in poverty and increases in crime, could the member talk about why her party does not support those social programs?
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2021-02-26 10:59 [p.4600]
Madam Speaker, what a bizarre thing to say. In fact, throughout the whole speech, I think I twice talked about the important initiatives that would help prevent youth ending up in gangs. Certainly my Conservative colleagues have been on the front lines talking about dealing with the addictions crises that are driving criminal activity in many communities.
The member does raise an important point about the kind of work that needs to be done, with a framework, for example, like what our Conservative colleague I hope is just about to bring forward successfully with the support of all parties, focusing on establishing a national framework of non-profit, local, community, faith-based, private organizations that would work together right across the country to reduce recidivism and repeat offences. That is an example of a real measure that would deal with some of the things the member is talking about to prevent crime.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
The hon. member will have three and a half minutes for questions and answers when we return to the discussion of this bill.
View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, in this pandemic, strong public health measures have helped to save lives, but they have also isolated us, including many of our seniors. To combat that isolation, our local constituency office, and I send a big thanks to Marietta and Hanna from my team, worked with 26 teachers from 14 local schools and Community Centre 55 to deliver over 700 letters of love written by elementary students to local seniors, both at home and in nursing homes. The idea was simply to help our seniors feel more connected and give students a platform to express empathy and to share life as we know it through their eyes.
Van, a grade six student at Adam Beck school wrote, “Even if it feels lonely, just remember you are not alone.” Decklan, a grade six student at Cosburn Middle School wrote, “I want you to know that you're a very special person and you are loved. All through life you've made others happy and now it's my turn to make you happy.”
This has been an impossibly difficult year for too many seniors across our country. I want to recognize the efforts of our local teachers and especially of these young students in bringing some joy to these otherwise difficult times.
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2021-02-26 11:01 [p.4601]
Madam Speaker, Canadians from all walks of life are suffering from the government's carbon tax. Seniors are seeing their meagre savings and pension monies being depleted by this tax on everything they buy. People who think this is only a tax on the fossil fuels they directly consume are sadly mistaken. Almost everything consumable has a carbon tax component.
Our industries are bearing this burden, and at the same time, are competing with industries from other countries that have no carbon tax. Farmers are being terribly affected by this punishing tax, compounded with a tax on a tax.
This is an example of just one farm bill in Oxford: Farmer Ed's cost of fuel for December to dry his grains for selling was $3,876. The carbon tax was $1,201 and the HST another $660. His January billing for fuel was $12,700. The carbon tax was $5,500 and the HST was—
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
The hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.
View Darren Fisher Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, this year marks the 25th official celebration of Black History Month in Canada and the 75th anniversary of Nova Scotia's Viola Desmond standing up against racial segregation. Today I honour another incredible and impactful Black Nova Scotian, Auburn Drive High School principal, Karen Hudson.
Beloved and known for making every student feel supported and cared for, Principal Hudson was named one of Canada's outstanding principals in 2019 for co-creating an Afrocentric education program for Black students at Auburn Drive. Bringing Afrocentric student content into academic courses such as higher level math and English has increased enrolment and achievement for her students. After working hard together since grade nine, the first cohort of this program will graduate high school this June.
I ask all members to join me in commending Dartmouth—Cole Harbour principal Karen Hudson for her efforts and achievements. I thank her for all that she does.
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, last year Gord Portman saved two people in a house fire in Penticton. When he saw his picture in the local newspaper, he realized he needed help. Gord was addicted to opioids, so he turned to Discovery House, a local organization that helps men battle their addictions. Now he thanks Discovery House for saving his life.
There are 1,300 British Columbians who have died from COVID-19, but over the same period 1,700 have died because of the opioid crisis. These people were sons and fathers, daughters and mothers. They had a medical problem, not a criminal problem. Thousands are being poisoned by drugs laced with fentanyl. We must decriminalize these drugs and provide a safe supply so we can help people like Gord and go after the real criminals who are selling the poisoned drugs.
Gord was recently honoured with a bravery award by the Royal Canadian Humane Association. I thank him and the people at Discovery House who saved his life.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
2021-02-26 11:04 [p.4601]
Madam Speaker, in 2010, 11 years ago now, I sat down with leaders from the francophone community who wanted to create the Maison de la francophonie d'Ottawa, a place to promote services in French and French-language development for francophones and francophiles.
The Maison de la francophonie, a non-profit organization, is now up and running in my riding, Ottawa West—Nepean. Bilingualism defines us as a country. The Maison de la francophonie offers health services, sports programs, second language classes and many cultural activities.
I would like to thank everyone involved in the Maison de la francophonie for creating this welcoming and inclusive space where diversity is celebrated.
View Dave Epp Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave Epp Profile
2021-02-26 11:06 [p.4601]
Madam Speaker, the Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear an appeal by the big telecom companies of a CRTC order that could significantly lower wholesale Internet rates. This means that the Supreme Court now joins the Federal Court in rejecting these appeals. All eyes are now on the last remaining appeal, which is in front of the CRTC. This issue is, of course, vitally important for almost all Canadians, as wholesale rates effectively determine what everyone pays for Internet access regardless of provider.
In my riding of Chatham-Kent—Leamington, affordable and reliable Internet is critical to our future. This has only been accelerated by remote working and learning, and our need to access government programs. For remote communities such as Pelee Island, it can be their only lifeline. Internet users in my riding demand the immediate implementation of federal measures to deliver affordable Internet and wireless services.
View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I rise today with a very heavy heart. Our community in Humber River—Black Creek has lost an important and influential individual, Father Amedeo Nardone, the beloved pastor of St. Jane Frances Church.
Father Nardone had a passion for life and a love for telling famous jokes to get a laugh. He will be remembered for the beautiful memories he has left behind, as well as his dedication, devout faith, hard work and goodwill in our community. He will never be forgotten.
I send my condolences to his family and loved ones from me, and from my husband, Sam. Father Nardone's wishes were, in lieu of flowers, for donations to St. Jane Frances Church roof repair fund. I know we will be successful in getting that roof repaired in honour of our dear friend who, even after his passing, is still looking out for his church.
View Helena Jaczek Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Helena Jaczek Profile
2021-02-26 11:08 [p.4602]
Madam Speaker, a new UN report on Sri Lanka expresses concern about clear warning signs of a deteriorating human rights situation. The report warns that the current trajectory sets the scene for the recurrence of the policies and practices that gave rise to grave human rights violations.
These concerns are shared by the Tamil Canadian community in my riding of Markham—Stouffville. Groups such as PEARL have suggested actions we can take, which include: encouraging Global Affairs Canada to support a strong, principled position at the UNHRC; supporting the creation of a special rapporteur for Sri Lanka at the HRC; calling for a study on Sri Lanka by the Subcommittee on International Human Rights; and operationalizing a motion passed by the House calling on the UN to establish an international independent investigation into allegations of genocide.
I support these recommendations.
View Bob Saroya Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bob Saroya Profile
2021-02-26 11:09 [p.4602]
Madam Speaker, I would like to wish everyone celebrating lunar new year a happy new year. Today, communities around the world are celebrating the final day of the traditional lunar new year, the Year of the Ox, which represents hard work, resiliency and courage.
This year, instead of the usual festivities shared with family, friends and neighbours, we are celebrating the new year virtually. Tonight Markham—Unionville MPP Billy Pang and I will be hosting one of these events, with the Leader of the Opposition and Premier Ford in attendance.
On behalf of the Conservative Party, I would like to wish everyone in my riding and across Canada a very happy lunar new year. I hope the Year of the Ox will be filled with joy, peace and prosperity for everyone.
Xi nian kuai le, shen ti jian kang, gong hai fat choy, niu nian da ji.
View Patrick Weiler Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Speaker, this week the West Vancouver Place for Sport dedicated its track in honour of Canadian hero and homegrown athlete Harry Jerome.
Harry Jerome was a renowned track and field sprinter, but although his achievements, including an Olympic medal and seven world records, are outstanding, he faced significant prejudice and racial injustice as a Black man.
Harry's persistence in the face of discrimination and devastating injuries to achieve at the highest level is an example to us all. This Black History Month, Harry Jerome is getting the reverence he deserves, but while his legacy continues to inspire young athletes, we must also recognize that the cruelty and racism he faced persists today.
This is why our government is taking action on the recommendations identified by the Parliamentary Black Caucus to address anti-Black racism, among which is recognizing the contributions of Black Canadian culture and heritage. The unveiling of Harry Jerome Oval will provide the community with a safe haven where athletes can compete free from discrimination in the future, just as it did for Harry in the past. I invite members to learn about Harry's incredible story in this Black History Month.
View Martin Shields Profile
CPC (AB)
View Martin Shields Profile
2021-02-26 11:11 [p.4602]
Madam Speaker, in February we celebrate Black History Month, and in my riding of Bow River, Black Canadians have been making history for well over 100 years. This history includes the story of the famous cowboy named John Ware.
John Ware was born in slavery in South Carolina. After the Civil War, he journeyed west into Texas and north with the cattle herds through the interior of the U.S. until he settled in southern Alberta.
He persevered through hardship and adversity while rising to prominence and ownership of a ranch. He became one of the first ranchers in Alberta after settling in the Bow River area. He was known for his exceptional horsemanship and is said to have popularized steer wrestling, which is still an event in rodeos today.
Bow River is a vastly diverse riding, with cities like Brooks, known as the city of 100 hellos for its ethnic diversity.
Stories about amazing Canadians like John Ware make us proud to celebrate Canada's diversity of culture and peoples, all while sharing our love for this great country.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2021-02-26 11:12 [p.4603]
Madam Speaker, I want to start with the words “genius”, “savant” and “lightning-quick”. These were the words that legendary Ottawa broadcaster Bill Carroll used to describe 26-year-old Brian Fraser. Brian was known for lighting up the newsroom over at CFRA. As the technical producer, he always knew how to intersperse exactly the right jingle, clip or piece of music to bring laughter to the thousands of listeners who enjoyed the show across the city and beyond.
When he was diagnosed with leukemia, instead of feeling sorry for himself, he used it as an occasion to spread the message that all Canadians should give blood in order to help those suffering with the disease. He reached hundreds of thousands of people on social media with his pleas.
Sadly, we lost Brian just last night. He passed away just after his beloved Senators won another game and he went on to be with his maker.
On behalf of all of our residents, I send my condolences to his family, to his loved ones, to his many friends and fans. May he rest in peace.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-02-26 11:13 [p.4603]
Madam Speaker, a new Prime Minister's directive on the land border between Canada and the United States is creating chaos, grief, disorder and disbelief. Workers who were formerly declared essential are now being denied re-entry to Canada, their home, at the Windsor-Detroit border, and face having to remain in the United States, away from their families, with little direction, support or respect from this Prime Minister.
This week my office has received numerous calls from members of the cross-border community in Windsor-Essex County who are denied re-entry to Canada. Nurses, engineers, teachers, business owners and workers in social services, for example, are now penalized. It is rumoured that there is a grid to determine eligibility, but little has been shared or is accountable from the minister's office. How can people plan or be expected to comply when they do not have a directive from the minister?
This situation needs to be altered. These former essential workers have saved lives of Americans and Canadians, and they, as well as people with cancer treatments and other medical appointments in the United States, need to have the support of the Prime Minister and the cabinet and not be denied these life-saving and life-important measures.
This is unacceptable. It has to be resolved—
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
The hon. member for Manicouagan.
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2021-02-26 11:15 [p.4603]
Madam Speaker, last week, I met with elected officials from the lower north shore, a huge portion of my riding that is not connected by road, in order to present the disastrous results of a survey that my office conducted on people's satisfaction with Canada Post. We learned that 80% of the population has complaints about this Crown corporation.
I was heartbroken to tell them the story of a woman who was expecting her chemotherapy drugs to arrive by mail on December 25 but did not receive them until January 6. That extremely vital package was 12 days late, and there was no other way it could be delivered. That is not only unacceptable, it is inhumane.
That is just one of countless examples. We have proposed solutions, such as colour coding, the supply ship Bella Desgagnés, or a local air carrier. We have made those suggestions to Canada Post many times, but nothing has changed.
The government needs to demand that Canada Post do everything in its power to immediately make its postal service on the lower north shore accessible, efficient, affordable and, of course, reliable.
View Steven Blaney Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Speaker, today Lévis is mourning the loss of one of its most illustrious citizens, Maurice Tanguay.
Originally from Saint-Philémon, in Bellechasse, Mr. Tanguay's passion for hockey grew during his time at Collège de Lévis. It was in Lévis in 1961 that he opened the first store under the banner that would become so well known: Ameublements Tanguay.
In 1995, he founded the Rimouski Océanic Hockey Club, fuelling Quebec's passion for major junior hockey. He also became an architect of the Rouge et Or at Université Laval, a prestigious part of Quebec football.
However, his true passion was helping children who were underprivileged, sick or living with disabilities. Thirty years ago he founded the Fondation Maurice Tanguay and was honoured many times for his compassion for human suffering. He and his family created a true dynasty of generosity.
For his exceptional involvement and his human values, we thank Maurice Tanguay and offer our condolences to his loving and devoted wife Madeleine, their children Jacques, Hélène and France, and the entire extended Tanguay family.
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, last December 11, Mississauga lost one of its community builders when Jagan Nath Dhawan passed away.
Jagan immigrated to Canada in 1969 at the age of 38 and lived in what was then the Town of Port Credit, becoming a schoolteacher in science and mathematics. His life journey is one of community service as a beloved educator and as someone who worked to forge and strengthen the multicultural community that Mississauga is today and the Canadian values that it exemplifies.
Jagan believed that if we truly understand each other's cultures and traditions, it would help to bring about acceptance, inclusion and unity. He led the way through his many tireless efforts, including the Peel District School Board's heritage language program, the Carassauga Festival of Cultures and the Mississauga Santa Claus Parade. He also helped newcomers to find work and housing and to overcome difficult circumstances.
Jagan Nath Dhawan lived a life of purpose and compassion, deeply rooted in a selfless concern for the well-being of others. He will be profoundly missed.
View Dave Epp Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave Epp Profile
2021-02-26 11:18 [p.4604]
Madam Speaker, on a point of order, my statement was interrupted with an order to close the door that I can assure you did not come from my office. I request that I have the opportunity to deliver my statement again.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
There was indeed a comment during the hon. member's statement. Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent to reissue his statement?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès): The hon. member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington, please go ahead.
View Dave Epp Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave Epp Profile
2021-02-26 11:20 [p.4604]
Madam Speaker, the Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear an appeal by the big telecom companies of a CRTC order that could significantly lower wholesale Internet rates. This means that the Supreme Court now joins the federal court in rejecting these appeals. All eyes are now on the last remaining appeal, which is in front of the CRTC. This issue is, of course, vitally important to almost all Canadians, as wholesale rates effectively determine what everyone pays for Internet access regardless of provider.
In my riding of Chatham-Kent—Leamington, affordable and reliable Internet is critical to our future. This has only been accelerated by remote working and learning, and our need to access government programs. For remote communities such as Pelee Island, it can be their only lifeline. Internet users in my riding demand the immediate implementation of federal measures to deliver affordable Internet and wireless services.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2021-02-26 11:20 [p.4604]
Madam Speaker, millions of Canadians want to know why Canada is not able to manufacture vaccines. Yesterday, the Standing Committee on Industry heard some very interesting testimony from witnesses, including Dr. Gary Kobinger, a microbiologist at Université Laval's faculty of medicine. He said that at least two platforms, maybe three, in Canada could have been online by now, if there had been the right amount of support behind them.
Why has the government not provided the right amount of support for our scientists?
View William Amos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View William Amos Profile
2021-02-26 11:21 [p.4604]
Madam Speaker, at the beginning of the pandemic we announced some significant investments in the most promising Canadian candidates. Dr. Kobinger said that Medicago was the first vaccine candidate he would look at. We agree, which is why we invested up to $173 million to help Medicago move forward with its vaccine candidate and to restore a large-scale biomanufacturing facility in Quebec City. We invested $1 million in Dr. Kobinger's research, through an independent, peer-reviewed process. We are very pleased that the Government of Quebec has announced it also plans to support this research.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2021-02-26 11:21 [p.4604]
Madam Speaker, he failed to mention that that was not exactly the amount that Dr. Kobinger was looking for. The Government of Quebec had to come to this scientist's aid.
It is not just scientists, but industry too, that are complaining about the federal government's inaction on vaccine production. The president and managing director of Merck Canada criticized the climate of mistrust and the absence of constructive dialogue, stating that it is hard to understand why her industry is not even mentioned as a priority sector.
Why did the government ignore the industry and scientists?
View William Amos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View William Amos Profile
2021-02-26 11:22 [p.4604]
Madam Speaker, let us get the facts straight.
We knew from the start that we had to rely on the best scientists to determine which vaccines could be used in Canada and what investments we needed to make to have a biomanufacturing industry in Canada.
That is why we established the COVID-19 vaccine task force and therapeutics task force, which are made up of of scientific experts and industry leaders, to guide our decision-making. They made vital recommendations about the international vaccines we should select, resulting in advance purchase agreements with several companies and investments—
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2021-02-26 11:23 [p.4605]
Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary said that we need to get the facts straight. Let us do just that.
This morning, we learned that unfortunately, Canada is once again lagging far behind. We are now ranked 56th for vaccine doses administered. Only 3% of Canadians are currently vaccinated, and barely 8% will be by the end of March.
Vaccination is the key to our economic recovery from the pandemic. What is the government's post-pandemic economic plan?
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
2021-02-26 11:23 [p.4605]
Mr. Speaker, as the member is well aware, we got some very good news this morning with the announcement that a third vaccine was being approved.
That is in addition to all of the other vaccines that are now quickly arriving in the country. The six million Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be here by the end of March.
Over 14 million Canadians will be able to be vaccinated by the end of June, and the whole country will be able to be vaccinated by the end of September, so there will be economic growth.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2021-02-26 11:24 [p.4605]
Madam Speaker, when it comes to calling out genocide, the Liberals have gone from abstention to obstruction in just a few days. Last night, they filibustered to keep the committee from adopting a report on the Uighur genocide. When my colleague from Wellington—Halton Hills moved unanimous consent to get to the report, Liberal members refused.
Why would they turn a blind eye to government-coordinated rape, torture, indoctrination and forced sterilization? Why are the Liberals holding up further action to call out the Uighur genocide in China?
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2021-02-26 11:25 [p.4605]
Madam Speaker, this government takes any accusation of genocide extremely seriously. We have repeatedly said that we remain disturbed by troubling reports of human rights violation in Xinjiang. We have repeatedly called on the international community to work to investigate the egregious human rights abuses taking place in Xinjiang. We have repeatedly called for an international investigation in response to these allegations.
We will continue to stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2021-02-26 11:25 [p.4605]
Madam Speaker, he said stand up, but the Liberal government abstained. That is a disgraceful answer.
During debate, multiple Liberal members said they wanted to know what Canada could do to support a genocide declaration, but when the committee tried to offer those ideas, it was the Liberals who stonewalled, clearly under the direction of the Prime Minister. This confirms that the Prime Minister is more worried about angering his friends in Beijing than acting on the will of the House and standing up to bullies and tyrants.
Why is the Prime Minister all talk and no action when it comes to the communist regime in China?
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2021-02-26 11:26 [p.4605]
Madam Speaker, Monday's vote in Parliament ensured that every member had a chance to voice their opinion and to make a determination based on available evidence to express that concern. That is now the voice of Parliament; it is Parliament's view.
The Government of Canada welcomes parliamentarians working together on this critical issue, but the government has additional responsibilities. It is working with the international community to ensure these allegations are investigated by an international independent body of legal experts. They are doing what they need to do, and Parliament has done what it needs to do.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-02-26 11:27 [p.4605]
Mr. Speaker, why on earth has this whole quarantine business turned into such a fiasco?
All we want is for people to be able to follow the public health guidelines and be safe. All we want is a hotline that works. If TV talent shows can do it, I think the government should be able to, too.
Cancelling quarantines in the middle of a pandemic is not the solution. What we need is a government that governs. What will it take for the government to handle this issue properly?
View Darren Fisher Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, Canada has some of the strictest travel and border measures in the world. With new variants of concern, we know that we need to take further steps to protect Canadians from COVID-19. We have been very clear from the very start of the pandemic that no one should be travelling. Doing so can put people and their loved ones at risk. We will always act to protect Canadians.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-02-26 11:27 [p.4605]
Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is not saying that quarantines are bad. We are saying the government is managing them badly.
Quebec wanted travellers to be quarantined in hotels during the holidays. The government was unable to finalize the arrangements until the end of February. Even with that extra two months, it was not able to set up a hotline that works. Even with that extra two months, it was not able to keep the people it is responsible for safe.
What did the government spend those two months doing? Nothing?
View Darren Fisher Profile
Lib. (NS)
Again, Madam Speaker, we have some of the strictest border measures in the world and we take the safety of Canadians very seriously. We are aware of delays in accessing the phone line for the hotel reservation system. We were experiencing over 27,000 calls daily. PHAC is working hard to solve this issue and is adding staff to support the backlog.
I ask people to please only call at this time if they are ready to reserve their stays and if their travel is within 48 hours. I thank Canadians for their patience as we implement these very important public health measures.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, as the pandemic hit, the first action of the government was to provide liquidity supports for Canada's big banks of an unbelievable $750 billion, a banker nirvana. This week, those banks announced $42 billion in pandemic profits so far. This is outrageous as small businesses close and Canadians struggle to feed their families. Other countries have cracked down on profiteering.
Why is the Prime Minister so opposed to measures like a wealth tax and why does he encourage pandemic profiteering?
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2021-02-26 11:29 [p.4606]
Madam Speaker, I have great respect for the hon. member who posed this question, but I must register my disappointment with his attempt to conflate liquidity support from direct financing from the federal government. The fact is that our focus from the beginning of this pandemic has been to extend supports directly to households and businesses to help them weather the storm. I can point to the 8.9 million Canadians who have received CERB and been able to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads because of the actions of this government, or the 4.5 million workers who have received support and remained on the payroll of businesses as a result of the wage subsidy.
We are going to be here for small businesses and ordinary Canadians as long as it takes, no matter what it takes.
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